Rally in opposition of proposed sick leave, pay hikes ordinances held ahead of city council meeting

Local News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Monday Albuquerque City Councilors are discussing two proposed ordinances that would give employees hazard pay and sick leave for workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Ahead of the city council meeting 30 different coalition partners, employees and employers held a rally, asking councilors to vote no to the ordinances.

“This is not the right time to add a burden to a business that’s not anywhere close to being profitable,” Imesh Vaidya, CEO of Premier Hospitality, said. His company is in charge of seven hotels throughout New Mexico.

Under one of the bills, large companies like Vaidya’s with 50 employees or more, would be required to pay employees who make up to $15/hr, an extra $30-$75 depending on the length of the shift. While some say this would help protect employees, Vaidya and other rally-goers say it would only hurt businesses, which in turn hurts employees.

“Every two weeks, it will basically double my payroll. So, at that point I would be forced to cut hours from my hourly staff and add hours to my salaried staff,” Vaidya said. “If you’re going to be forcing us to reduce hours, cut staffing or make choices that are not in the best interest of the city nor our employees, no one benefits from this.”

The second proposed ordinance would require all businesses within city limits to pay full time employees 80 hours of paid sick leave through the end of the year, if they were to get COVID-19 or have to care for a family member with the virus.

City council is also discussing a third bill that would require businesses in city limits to provide personal protective equipment, or PPE, for employees.

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